A project is in compliance when reasonable attempts are made to rent vacant low- income units (comparably sized or smaller than the vacated units) to tenants having a qualifying income before any units are rented to nonqualifying tenants. A state agency’s responsibility for reviewing the owner’s compliance with the Vacant Unit Rule must include a review of the owner’s advertising practices; i.e., a project will be considered in compliance when the owner makes reasonable efforts to rent vacant units to qualified low income households before renting any vacant units to nonqualifying tenants.
Example 1: Renting Market Rate Unit Before Low-Income Units2
Twenty market rate units and ten low-income units previously occupied by income-qualified tenants in a 200-unit mixed-use housing project are vacant. None of the low-income units are over-income units. The owner displayed a banner and for rent signs at the entrance to the project, placed classified advertisements in two local newspapers, and contacted prospective low-income tenants on a waiting list for the project and on a local public housing authority’s list of section 8 voucher holders. These are customary advertising methods for apartment vacancies in the area where the project is located. Subsequent to the low-income unit vacancies, a market rate unit of comparable size to the low-income units became vacant. The owner rents five market rate units before any of the ten vacant low-income units.
The owner is in compliance with the Vacant Unit Rule. The owner has used reasonable methods of advertising an apartment vacancy in the area of the project before renting a market rate unit. In addition, the Available Unit Rule is not violated be renting the market rate unit because there are no over-income units in the building.
A unit is not available for purposes of the vacant unit rule when the unit is no longer available to rent due to contractual arrangements that are binding under local law, such as a reservation entered into between a building owner and a prospective tenant.
Example 2: Low-Income Unit Not Available3
A building has 10 units, consisting of 7 low-income units (none was an over-income unit) and 3 market rate units. All units in the building were occupied except for one market rate unit.
A low-income unit became vacant on March 15, 2004, so the owner started advertising to rent the unit to an income-qualified tenant. On March 29, 2004 the owner agreed to rent the unit to an income- qualified household and the parties signed a reservation binding on both parties. The owner ceased advertising efforts for the low-income unit. The vacant market rate unit was rented on April 15, 2004. The low-income household signed their lease on April 30, 2004 and
Rev. Rul. 2004-82, Q&A #9.
Rev. Rul. 2004-82, Q&A #10.
Revised October 2009